MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS

or

HEALING HISTORY

 

 

 

The Bloomingdale-Morningside Heights neighborhood was replete with historic medical institutions.  The Bloomingdale Insane Asylum was the first to arrive in 1821, followed by the Leake and Watts Orphanage in 1843. As New York City grew by movement uptown, the Bloomingdale-Morningside Heights area was prime territory for relocation. It was away from the downtown density, yet accessible by the Ninth Avenue Elevated Railroad from 1879.  Starting in the late 1880s, the number of institutions that found their way to the area, grew with a fury. These are only the medical institutions:

 

In 1771, New York Hospital was established as the third oldest hospital in the United States. The Bloomingdale Insane Asylum began in 1808 as a part of New York Hospital and became the second oldest mental health facility in the United States. In 1821, and ever a part of New York Hospital, it arrived in Bloomingdale on the site that now includes Columbia’s campus. In 1892, it moved to White Plains, New York, and Columbia then purchased and occupied most of its site.

 

The New York Cancer Hospital was the first cancer hospital in the United States, and second in the world only to one in London. It begun in a meeting in the home of Alexander Hamilton’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Hamilton Cullum. In 1884, she laid the cornerstone of the building. Her grandmother and widow of Alexander Hamilton, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, was a congregant of St Michael’s Church when it first opened in 1806 on the Bloomingdale Road and 99th St. Just months after laying the cornerstone to the new hospital, Elizabeth Hamilton Cullum succumbed to uterine cancer. Just one week before the hospital’s grand opening in 1887, Charlotte Augusta Astor, wife of the primary benefactor, John Jacob Astor, died of uterine cancer. Her mother was “the” Mrs. Astor of “the 400” fame. Appropriately, the New York Cancer Hospital’s first wing was dedicated the “Astor Pavilion”. In 1890, the hospital was expanded south into its distinguished form like a French Chateau, and included the hospital's Chapel of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, patron saint of the suffering, dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth Hamilton Cullum. In 1899, the New York Cancer Hospital was renamed the General Memorial Hospital for the Treatment of Cancer and Allied Diseases. In 1917, an X-ray laboratory at 19-37 West 105th Street was added. Marie Curie visited the hospital in 1921. It is thought that the hospital changed its name to Memorial Hospital in 1934 to relieve the perception that going to the “Cancer” hospital meant inevitable death. In 1939, it moved to the East Side to become part of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. A nursing home magnate, Bernard Bergman, purchase the building and turned it into a nursing home facility called Towers Nursing Home. In 1974, it closed and Bergman was prosecuted and convicted for malfeasance. In 1976, it was landmarked. After falling into disrepair, it was successfully refurbished into apartment residences.

19 West 105th Street

 

The New York College of Medicine for Women was the first medical school for women in the United States. It was established on Lower Broadway in 1863, and after some interim moves, it arrived in Bloomingdale in 1897. In 1918, women doctors were accepted in the city hospitals for the first time, and with the related acceptance of women in medical schools, the New York Medical College for Women elected to close. The space, once occupied by such a historic institution, is now a community garden,

19 West 101st Street

 

The New York Red Cross Hospital occupied an 1889-built private residence from 1894. the Bloomingdale Neighborhood in 1894. Shortly after, the hospital moved to West 82nd Street, and in 1906, to the southwest corner of Central Park West and 100th Street. It was noted for its training School for Nurses.  In 1915, the name was changed to Park Hospital. After World War I, it became the Reconstruction Hospital.

223 W 100 ST

395 Central Park West

 

The Pasteur Institute was the first in the United States, being established in 1892. It was a 5-story building with 50 bedrooms. In 1898, it moved to upstate New York.

1 W 97th Street

 

The Radium Institute of New York was organized in 1914 and first operated on West 70th Street as one of the pioneer radium laboratories in the country. It provided free treatment for patients suffering from cancer. At that time, there was about 8 ounces of radium in the world, of which a little more than 3 ounces was in the US.  The Radium Institute made the largest purchase of radium up to that time for $120,000. The price of radium at the time was about $100,000 a gram.  There are about 28 grams in an ounce. In 1922, the Radium Institute was giving 6000 radium treatments per year when it moved to the Bloomingdale neighborhood.

323 Riverside Drive (104th Street)

 

The Reception Hospital, sometimes called the Bloomingdale Reception Hospital, was at 155-157 West 99th Street in the 1890s. Aa a reception facility it only handled emergencies. It shared space with the Bloomingdale Dispensary, until that was taken over by St. Michael’s Church at 225 West 99th Street.

 

The Reconstruction Hospital was renowned for employing techniques learned from WW1 to “reconstruct” bodies, i.e., rehabilitate soldiers, back to working order. As such, it was the only one of its kind in the country. In 1948, it was absorbed into New York University.  Just before urban renewal tore it down in 1955, the 24th Precinct was using it as their 1869 building was being replaced.

2 West 100th Street

 

St. Luke’s Hospital was founded in 1846, and open to patients in 1858. After leaving its midtown location on Fifth Avenue, it occupied a new building in Morningside Heights on West 113th Street by Morningside Drive in 1896. In time, it expanded on to Amsterdam Avenue and 114th Street, and in 1954, absorbed the nearby Women’s Hospital. In 1979, St. Luke’s Hospital Center merged with Roosevelt Hospital. In 1997, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center merged with Beth Israel Hospital to become became Continuum Health Partners. St. Luke’s Hospital was renamed Mount Sinai St. Luke’s with the merger of Continuum with Mt. Sinai Hospital in 2013. It is now called Mt. Sinai Morningside.

 

The Women’s Hospital was founded by “the father of modern gynecology”. J. Marion Sims, in 1855. From after two midtown locations, it arrived in the Bloomingdale neighborhood in 1906. It occupied a new 220 bed facility, that would soon after expanded. In 1954, the Women's Hospital merged with St. Luke's Hospital.  In 1964, it moved into the St’ Luke’s facility and became the Women's Division at St. Luke's Hospital. In 1968, the Women’s Hospital building was taken down.

141 West 109th Street